The Skil SR211601 random orbit sander is an affordable variable speed sander that can handle lighter refinishing work. It features a variable speed motor at it’s lower price point, which is nice. Let’s take a closer look at this one.
Sanding Power & Motor
This orbit sander has a 2.8 amp motor that can operate at variable speeds from 7,000 to 13,000 OPM. The motor is on the smaller side for orbit sanders like this, but it’s power is good enough for lighter work. The ability to change the speed is a nice feature, and it helps you dial in the right speed for whatever combination of discs you are using and surfaces you are sanding.
People who use this sander notice that even though it has a pretty high OPM speed, it bogs down pretty easily when you apply even lighter pressures to the surface you are sanding. However, since it’s a random orbit sander, it’s still able to operate quite effectively even with lower pressure applied. If you think you’ll need something where you can apply more pressure for harder jobs, this should be considered.
For a smaller random orbit sander this one feels a little bit heaver than others and has a weight of just under 3.5 lbs. It doesn’t feel overly heavy during use, but it can fatigue your arm a little faster if you’re doing vertical or angled work and not just running it over the top of a flat surface. It feels good to grip and can be held on the top or the vertical post. It’s maneuverable enough to get into some tighter spaces and feels balanced. The vibration on this one isn’t too bad, but it will fatigue your hands with longer use.
This sander has a 5 inch hook and loop pad that will hold any 5 inch hook and loop pad with 8 dust collection holes. This is a standard size and replacement pads are easy to find.
The sanding pad works pretty well on this one. It’s flat and people don’t really have too many complaints about it. As with all sanding pads, it’s best to be careful with the hook and loop surface so that you don’t damage the hooks, which will cause it to lose ability to hold the discs. Cleaning is also important to keep dust from building up and also making disc attachment difficult.
This Skil sander is like most other random orbit sanders in the dust collection department. The included dust collection container works ok, but not great. It uses what Skill calls an X-flow system to try to increase airflow into the dust container, which in theory would make dust collection better. But it still struggles. It’s nice to be able to see how full the container is though, with the clear plastic housing.
The best option is to hook this up to a dust collection system or a shop vac, which works much better and really does a good job of keeping dust under control. This is especially a good idea if you will be using this sander indoors.
As far as the overall construction and build goes, this is a decent build quality for the price. It’s a cheaper sander made for lighter use, with the typical plastic heavy design, but it’s still got a somewhat beefy feel to it. The speed dial feels good and the power switch is sealed to keep dust out. People don’t really run into any issues with this stuff breaking. Some people have issues with their included hook and loop pads breaking down early if they put them through some harder use. Those can be replaced easily enough though. The warranty will cover you for a year if you end up with a problematic unit out of the box.
As far as accessories go, this sander doesn’t come with much. You’ll get the sander and dust collection container, and some include three sanding discs. There aren’t any options with carrying cases.
- Dust Container
Setup & Assembly
This sander is easy to setup and use right out of the box. There’s not much to assemble. The manual has some maintenance tips worth checking out as well.
Skil offers a 1 year warranty on defective parts or workmanship. This is good enough to help you out if you have quality control issues out of the box.
- Variable speed settings
- Smooth sanding with random orbit action
- Easy to grip
- Dust collection isn’t that great with the dust container
- A little heavier than some similar orbit sanders
- Bogs down with lighter pressures applied
5.5 in x 4.8 in x 7.9 in
The Skil SR211601 random orbit sander is an affordable sander that feels a little heavier in design but is still still fairly small and maneuverable. It has a variable speed motor and can provide very smooth sanding action, but it also can bog down easily when applying harder pressure to the surface. It’s a good sander for lighter jobs and can work well without breaking the bank.